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Comment: Other Peoples' Money (Score 1) 195

by BigFoot48 (#36819838) Attached to: Gov't Funded Electric Car Company Goes Out of Business
Actually, it wasn't city money that Salinas gave to the company, it was Federal and State money. The city was merely the bad decision maker and transfer agent for unrestrained spending by the Feds and State of CA.

"Green Vehicles received $300,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funding in 2009 and about $234,000 in city General Fund money last fall in advance of the company's planned receipt of a $2.05 million grant from the California Energy Commission.

Donohue added that he intends to ask the California Energy Commission to reimburse the city the $234,000 it advanced Green Vehicles in anticipation of the $2.05 million CEC award."|head

Comment: I Still Remember (Score 3, Interesting) 407

by BigFoot48 (#26443743) Attached to: 30th Anniversary of the (No Good) Spreadsheet
I remember in March 1980 when a colleague took me to an Apple computer store in San Francisco, opened VisiCalc, put 100 in one cell, 200 in another, a sum below it, and 300 magically appeared.

My life as an accountant changed forever that day. It took me three months, and many meeting to get the local division of the major oil company I worked for to buy the first Apple in the company. I seem to recall it was $3,000 or so.

After that it was models and spreadsheets galore - well, whatever was 64k or smaller. ("Oh, you want that calculation? Well, I'll have to remove this one.)

Then on to IBM and Lotus 123 and the rest is history.

Were spreadsheets abused, full of errors, and assumed gospel when they weren't? Sure, but they also made clear, in a very short time, important data used to make good decisions.

Now long retired, that moment in SF remains with me as one of those "ah yes" moments in life.

Comment: Re:Done this before (Score 1) 823

by BigFoot48 (#26222943) Attached to: Configuring a Windows PC For a Senior Citizen?
When I finally got the 80+ in-laws to get off dial-up and on to cable high speed, I installed LogMeIn, a great free program and service that allows me to access their computer from 160 miles away and fix most problems that crop up. It would be helpful if Windows had a "disable right mouse clicks" switch, as random right-clicking gets them into a lot of trouble. Oh, and a "simple menu" switch for outlook express would also save "my icons disappeared" calls.

Using TSO is like kicking a dead whale down the beach. -- S.C. Johnson